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Tuesday 21 November 2017

Worker 'feared man dressed as a woman would abduct child'

The scene of the shooting at the racing pigeon club
The scene of the shooting at the racing pigeon club

A welfare officer who saw a man dressed as a woman hanging around a community centre rang gardai because she was concerned he was going to abduct a child, a jury has heard.

Christopher McDonald (34) allegedly told Moira Hyland Doyle "no, I'm grand" when she asked if he was lost.

Ms Hoyland Doyle told the Central Criminal Court that she initially thought the person was a woman but when he spoke she realised it was a man.

Mr McDonald, from the East Wall area of Dublin 1, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Keith Walker on June 12, 2015.

Mr Walker (36) was standing outside Blanchardstown Racing Pigeon Club in Clonsilla when he was shot.

Disguised

It is the State case that Mr McDonald disguised himself as a woman and shot Mr Walker 18 times with a submachine gun.

In her evidence, Ms Hyland Doyle said there had been a celebration involving 100 people at the community centre that day .

At around 4pm, she walked a woman and her child to the gate and saw another woman with long black hair standing around. She was looking around an area where children played.

Ms Hyland Doyle said the woman was wearing sunglasses, a dark jacket and leggings with a pink strip.

She went back into reception but the person was still there, walking around.

Victim Keith Walker was shot up to 18 times in the attack
Victim Keith Walker was shot up to 18 times in the attack

She came back out and asked her if she was lost or looking for someone. "No, I'm grand," the person said.

Ms Hyland Doyle said she then realised it was a man, not a woman.

She said she rang Blanchardstown Garda Station at about 4.30pm and told officers there was someone hanging around and she was afraid they were going to take a child.

She waited until everyone had left, and when she drove away at around 5.10pm she saw the man had moved down Shelerin Road.

The jury also heard from pigeon club member Paul Foster, who got to the club at about 4.20pm. As he drove in the entrance, he saw someone wearing a wig, sunglasses and cycling shorts.

Mr Foster said the person had a cigarette in their hand and flicked out their arm.

"He just didn't look like a woman," he added. He clocked in his pigeons and stood outside to talk to other members.

Mr Foster said the man with the wig was still there and, as he told the other members it wasn't a woman, he saw him reach for something.

Screamed

It looked "about two feet long" and was "a big, big gun", he added.

He said he screamed, "It's a hitman" as the man started firing.

Mr Foster told the jury that Mr Walker turned his head toward him when he screamed and then the "bullets were hitting him in the head".

Mr Walker fell to the ground face down. He was turned on to his back and Mr Foster held his hand, telling him to "hang on".

Mr Foster said he had met Mr Walker two or three times and he was "bubbly, a nice chap". He said he was always talking about his son and had told him he was getting married.

Earlier, the jury heard a man dressed in women's clothes stopped two teenagers near the Lidl store and asked them for directions to the pigeon club.

The man is also alleged to have asked one of the teens if he could use his mobile phone, but the young man didn't have any credit.

The trial continues.

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